Brainwaves & Bikes: University of Tennessee Chattanooga leads research with Lookout Valley Middle School
Last summer, the first shipment of Riding for Focus Bikes landed at Lookout Valley Middle School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. School Champion Dan Basler gave a major shout-out to Eric Wagner, Managing Partner and the entire team at Cycle Sport Concepts Chattanooga for the bike builds. Fast forward almost a year later—and now the payback from building bikes and continued maintenance is scoring high marks for the school and research underway.
University of Tennessee Chattanooga (UTC) students first teamed up with physical education teacher and champion Dan Basler at the school. Basler hopes and expects that physical exercise will help. “We are trying to demonstrate the need for the mind and body to work together,” he shared.
The group of students from the Honors College at UTC are hoping to show the connection between the exertion of mountain biking and the tranquility of meditation. Ashli Chew, a junior biochemistry major, says she and the other UTC students expect to see an increase in academic performance after middle and high school students finish a round of biking.
“When we look at the brainwaves, what we expect to see is that, after aerobic exercise, they’ll go into a more meditative state,” Chew says. A meditative state releases endorphins which improve mood and help students focus and perform better in school.
In the experiments, middle and high school students are fitted with electroencephalogram, or EEG, headwear to track their brainwaves. They are then sent out to bike for 20 minutes on the school’s running track. Tracking the brainwaves includes studying the students’ moods and ability to focus before and after the biking excursion.
Giving back all around—the team shared they hope to get the results of the biking project published, help Lookout Valley in the process and give the research to the Specialized Foundation to help us further our work and research.
Check out this inspiring school video featuring Associate Professor Drew Bailey that captures more of the research details.
Article, image and video credits: University of Tennessee Chattanooga News Service